WASHINGTON, April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Restaurant Association, representing an industry of nearly one million restaurants and 13 million employees, issued the following statement about the bipartisan immigration reform plan unveiled today.
"We commend the 'Gang of Eight' for their leadership in crafting a comprehensive reform bill to help fix our nation's broken immigration system," said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "The opportunity is now. This is the year for Congress to pass sensible immigration reform.
"The National Restaurant Association has been involved in the immigration reform debate at each step of the process for over two decades, and as an industry that plays such an important role in the nation's economy, with the second largest private sector workforce, we are pleased to see some of the most critical priorities of the restaurant industry addressed in this proposal.
"We commend the bipartisan commitment and process that resulted in the legislation that will be introduced this week, and we believe the proposal has the right framework to tackle our three key priorities:
- At its core, the proposal includes a pathway to legal work status, offering undocumented workers and their families a process of known steps to gain permanent legalization.
- The plan incorporates a national employment verification system that would provide employers with certainty in regard to their legal obligations, while preempting a patchwork of state and local laws.
- The proposal includes improved border security that helps prevent illegal border crossings, while encouraging legitimate travel and tourism to the United States to grow jobs here at home.
"We look forward to working with legislators to address some deficiencies in the guest worker program framework, and to improve the employment verification component of the legislation, however we again commend the 'Gang of Eight' for their bipartisan efforts moving a comprehensive immigration reform package forward.
"In addition, this week, hundreds of restaurateurs from across the country will be in Washington for the National Restaurant Association's Public Affairs Conference, and will have the opportunity to share their thoughts about the proposal firsthand with legislators on Capitol Hill."
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 18-21, 2013, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart, including the National ProStart Invitational April 19-21, 2013, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.
SOURCE National Restaurant Association